Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
Program Director - Immunotherapy & HIV Cure




 Prior to his appointment as chief scientific officer and principal investigator at Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida®), Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D. served as scientific director of basic research and strategic planning and director of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Immunology for the University of Montreal Hospital Centre’s Research Centre. He was also scientific director for the National Laboratory of Immune Monitoring, collaboration between the University of Montreal and MDS Pharma. In addition, he served as director of INSERM Unit 743 in Human Immunology, a unit of the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, France’s major funding organization.

Dr. Sékaly has extensive expertise in system biology studies of the human immune response to vaccines, chronic viral infections and immune therapies. Specifically, his group is among the world’s leaders in HIV vaccine development as well as the generation of novel approaches for HIV and cancer vaccines. His work has resulted in the publication of more than 280 articles in scientific journals. His studies have also resulted in the issuance of 20 patents. In addition, the Sékaly lab has received several prestigious research grants from the Canadian Government, the United States’ National Institutes of Health and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Dr. Sékaly obtained his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the Université of Lausanne in 1984 and went on to perform a postdoctoral fellowship, from 1984 to 1987, on immunogenetics and molecular biology of major histocompatibility complex molecules.


As Founder and Scientific Director of the CANVAC Network of Centre of Excellence, as well as Scientific Director of Inserm Unit on Human Immunology and now in his position at VGTI Florida, Dr. Sékaly has over the years strived to improve our quality of life by using novel technologies and a multidisciplinary approach in order to develop vaccines for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases like AIDS, hepatitis C and cancer.




Contact Information

Dr. Rafick Sekaly Ph.D.
Chief Scientific Officer
and Principal Investigator
Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida
9801 SW Discovery Way
Port St Lucie, FL 34987
Tel: (772) 345-5668
Fax: (772) 345-5754

Lab Members 
Cheryl Cameron - Research Associate
Rebeka Bordi - Coordinator of Clinical Resources
Deanna Kulpa - Staff Scientist
Frank Dupuy - Research Associate
Hiroshi Takata - Post-doctoral Fellow
Glenda Canderan - Post-doctoral Fellow
Joumana Zeidan - Post-doctoral Fellow
Jessica Brehm - Postdoctoral Fellow
Victor Joo - Research Assistant
Krupa Subramanian - Research Assistant
Sally Yuan - Research Assistant
Anne-Gaelle Bebin-Blacwell - Sr. Research Assistant 
Shannon Murray - Staff Scientist
Clarisse Benne- Post-doctoral Fellow
Malika Aid- Post-doctoral Fellow
Jeff Ahlers- Lab Manager


Recent Publications 
  1. Trautmann L, Sékaly RP “Solving vaccine mysteries: a systems biology perspective” Nat Immunol. 2011 Jul 19;  12(8):729-31. doi: 10.1038/ni.2078.
  2. Johnson MJ, Petrovas C, Yamamoto T, Lindsay RW, Loré K, Gall JG, Gostick E, Lefebvre F, Cameron MJ, Price DA, Haddad E, Sékaly RP, Seder RA, Koup RA." Type I IFN Induced by Adenovirus Serotypes 28 and 35 Has Multiple Effects on T Cell Immunogenicity" J Immunol. 2012 May 14.
  3. Levy Y, Sereti I, Tambussi G, Routy JP, Lelievre JD, Delfraissy JF, Molina JM, Fischl M, Goujard C, Rodriguez B, Rouzioux C, Avettand-Fenoel V, Croughs T, Beq S, Morre M, Poulin JF, Sékaly RP, Thiebaut R, Lederman MM. “Effects of rhIL-7 on T Cell Recovery and Thymic Output in HIV-infected Patients receiving antiretroviral therapy: results of a Phase I/IIa Randomized, Placebo Controlled, Multicenter Study” Clin Infect Dis. 2012 May 1
  4. Gómez CE, Perdiguero B, Jiménez V, Filali-Mouhim A, Ghneim K, Haddad EK, Quakkerlaar ED, Delaloye J, Harari A, Roger T, Dunhen T, Sékaly RP, Melief CJ, Calandra T, Sallusto F, Lanzavecchia A, Wagner R, Pantaleo G, Esteban M.” Systems Analysis of MVA-C Induced Immune Response Reveals Its Significance as a Vaccine Candidate against HIV/AIDS of Clade C” PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e35485. Epub 2012 Apr 19.
  5. Ananworanich J, Schuetz A, Vandergeeten C, Sereti I, de Souza M, Rerknimitr R, Dewar R, Marovich M, van Griensven F, Sékaly RP, Pinyakorn S, Phanuphak N, Trichavaroj R, Rutvisuttinunt W, Chomchey N, Paris R, Peel S, Valcour V, Maldarelli F, Chomont N, Michael N, Phanuphak P, Kim JH; on behalf of the RV254/SEARCH 010 Study Group “Impact of Multi-Targeted Antiretroviral Treatment on Gut T Cell Depletion and HIV Reservoir Seeding during Acute HIV Infection” PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33948. Epub 2012 Mar 30.
  6. Songok EM, Luo M, Liang B, Mclaren P, Kaefer N, Apidi W, Boucher G, Kimani J, Wachihi C, Sékaly RP, Fowke K, Ball BT, Plummer FA. Microarray analysis of HIV resistant female sex workers reveal a gene expression signature pattern reminiscent of a lowered immune activation state PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30048. Epub 2012 Jan 26. 
  7. Routy JP, Tremblay CL, Angel JB, Trottier B, Rouleau D, Baril JG, Harris M, Trottier S, Singer J, Chomont N, Sékaly RP, Boulassel MR Valproic acid in association with highly active antiretroviral therapy for reducing systemic HIV-1 reservoirs: results from a multicentre randomized clinical study HIV Med. 2012 May; 13(5):291-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2011.00975.x. Epub 2012 Jan 26.
  8. Janbazian L, Price DA, Canderan G, Filali-Mouhim A, Asher TE, Ambrozak DR   Scheinberg P, Boulassel MR, Routy JP, Koup RA, Douek DC, Sékaly RP, Trautmann L. “Clonotype and repertoire changes drive the functional improvement of HIV-specific CD8 T cell populations under conditions of limited antigenic stimulation” J Immunol. 2012 Feb 1;188(3):1156-67. Epub 2011 Dec 30.
  9. Wilkinson P, Filali-Mouhim A, Li S, Ahlers J, Schatzle J, Pulendran B, Sékaly RP, Cameron MJ. “An open-ended plea for the development of a global database of HIV vaccine responses.” Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2012 Jan; 7(1):10-6. Review.
  10. Sékaly RP, Pulendran B. “Systems biology in understanding HIV pathogenesis and guiding vaccine development.”  Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2012 Jan;7(1):1-3
  11. Peretz Y, Cameron C, Sékaly RP. “Dissecting the HIV-specific immune response: a systems biology approach” Curr Opin HIV AIDS. 2012 Jan;7(1):17-23. 
  12. Abdel Kibler KV, Gomez CE, Perdiguero B, Wong S, Huynh T, Holechek S, Arndt W, Jimenez V, Gonzalez-Sanz R, Denzler K, Haddad EK, Wagner R, Sékaly RP, Tartaglia J, Pantaleo G, Jacobs BL, Esteban M. “Improved NYVAC-based vaccine vectors” J Exp Med. 2011 Nov 21;208(12):2347-9.
  13. Caskey M, Lefebvre F, Filali-Mouhim A, Cameron MJ, Goulet JP, Haddad EK, Breton G, Trumpfheller C, Pollak S, Shimeliovich I, Duque-Alarcon A, Pan L, Nelkenbaum A, Salazar AM, Schlesinger SJ, Steinman RM, Sékaly RP “Synthetic double-stranded RNA induces innate immune responses similar to a live viral vaccine in humans” J Exp Med. 2011 Nov 21;208(12):2357-66. Epub 2011 Nov 7.
  14. Boulassel MR, Chomont N, Pai NP, Gilmore N, Sékaly RP, Routy JP “CD4 T cell nadir independently predicts the magnitude of the HIV reservoir after prolonged suppressive antiretroviral therapy” J Clin Virol. 2012 Jan; 53(1):29-32. Epub 2011 Oct 22.
  15. Mbitikon-Kobo FM, Bonneville M, Sékaly RP, Trautmann L. “Ex vivo measurement of the cytotoxic capacity of human primary antigen-specific CD8 T cells” J Immunol Methods. 2012 Jan 31;375(1-2):252-7. Epub 2011 Oct 5.
  16. van Grevenynghe J, Cubas RA, Noto A, DaFonseca S, He Z, Peretz Y, Filali-Mouhim A, Dupuy FP, Procopio FA, Chomont N, Balderas RS, Said EA, Boulassel MR, Tremblay CL, Routy JP, Sékaly RP, Haddad EK. “Loss of memory B cells during chronic HIV infection is driven by Foxo3a- and TRAIL-mediated apoptosis” J Clin Invest. 2011 Oct; 121(10):3877-88. doi: 10.1172/JCI59211. Epub 2011 Sep 19.
  17. Trautmann L, Sekaly RP. “Solving vaccine mysteries: a systems biology perspective.” Nat Immunol. 2011 Jul 19; 12(8):729-31. doi: 10.1038/ni.2078.



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